Azerbaijan shares data on foreign companies engaged in illegal activities in formerly occupied territories (UPDATE)

Politics Materials 18 January 2021 11:23 (UTC +04:00)

Details added: first version posted on 09:58

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan.18


A number of international companies have illegally worked in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh for 30 years of occupation of Azerbaijani lands, Trend reports on Jan.18.

Since 1999, the Armenian government has attracted several foreign companies to invest in Karabakh. They functioned there without the permission of Azerbaijan’s government in various spheres - mining, construction, woodworking, telecommunications, and others.

Companies from the UK, France, Iran, US, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, and other countries invested in the occupied territories, illegally exploiting the local natural resources.

In general, companies from more than 20 countries functioned in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. In the last ten years alone, they illegally invested $470 million in Karabakh. These companies, which carried out illegal activities in the occupied territories, including exploiting gold deposits, illegal production of sturgeon and black caviar, electricity, selling watches, banking, were identified, and a tax audit was carried out against them by a court decision.

According to the results of tax audits and the conclusion of a forensic accounting examination, grounds for suspicion of illegal entrepreneurial activity were revealed, in the process of which five companies received income in the amount of 306.8 million manat ($180.4 million).

Corresponding legal documents in relation to 166 legal entities engaged in the illegal economic activities were sent to 35 countries.

The companies which were illegally engaged in the economic activities in Karabakh include Haik Watch and Jewelry Co, Rodino Haskovo JIC, Centro Ceibal, Deccan Gold Mines Ltd, Cosmote Romanian Mobile Telecommunications S.A, and others.

Information was collected with regard to the heads of the above companies; the Investigation Department for Heavy Crimes at the General Prosecutor's Office of Azerbaijan has initiated criminal cases under the relevant articles of the Criminal Code, and the investigation is underway. At a meeting following the results of 2020, President Ilham Aliyev warned the companies about possible addressing the issue to the international court in case of declining to pay compensation for the illegal activities.

In Karabakh, gold deposits were most plundered. The rich gold deposits of the Kalbajar district were illegally exploited in the border areas with Armenia. Gold deposits were also plundered in Aghdere and Zangilan districts. The Vezhnali gold deposit with 6.5 tons of gold reserves, plundered by Armenians, is located in the Zangilan district.

The Armenian Copper Proqramme (ACP) CJSC, which produces copper, sends the resulting product to copper smelting plants in Europe.

GF and a Cuban company have invested $ 20 million to start making souvenirs using precious stones from Karabakh.

Base Metals LLC, established in August 2002, has been exploitng gold and copper deposits in the village of Gyzylbulag (Drambon) of the Aghdere district for a long time. Here the reserves are, according to the data, 13.5 tons. Every month 12,000 tons of ore were mined from the deposit and processed at the local plant. The concentrate was exported to Armenia, and after secondary processing, copper containing gold was supplied to the European market. Base Metals LLC is an affiliate of the Australian International Base Metals Limited, created by an Armenian businessman living in Armenia.

The company Maneks Valeks was also engaged in the extraction of minerals in the occupied territories.

Forests in the occupied lands were also plundered on a large scale, along with gold deposits.

In 1988, the forest fund here amounted to 228,000 hectares, and in 2020 reduced to 174,000 hectares, that is, 54,000 hectares of the forest fund were cut down and destroyed.

The above companies are only some of those who were engaged in illegal activities in Karabakh.

Kalbajar and Zangilan districts, as well as a part of the Aghdere district, had been liberated by Azerbaijan from Armenian occupation as a result of the 44-day war (from late Sept. through early Nov.2020).